Billy Graham Center

Faces from the Past
Woman's Union Missionary Society

Photo File: WUMS - Personnel, Individuals
Mrs. Lydia Benton & son
Yokohama, Japan1873
2 years
Mrs. C. V. R. Bonney
Peking, China 1869
3 years
Miss Mary E. Butler
Calcutta, India 1870
2 years
Augusta Cochand
Athens, Greece 1876

Miss Nellie Dawson
Cyprus 1878

Miss Martha C. Lathrop
Alahabala, India 1870
27 years
Dr. Elizabeth Reifsnyder
Shanghai, China 1883
31 years
Miss Grace Rankin Ward
Cawpore, India 1870
27 years
Almost one hundred fifty years ago in 1860 the Woman's Union Missionary Society was founded by Sarah Platt Doremus to meet the spiritual, physical, and educational needs of women in closed societies of Asia. Single women (doctors, nurses, educators, and Bible teachers) were the ones who could penetrate those societies. The Records of the WUMS contains information and photographs of many of these women. A photo album (WUMS - Personnel, Individuals) in these records contains cartes de visite of about three dozen early missionaries to China, India, Japan, Greece and Cyprus. For more information on the WUMS see the guide to Collection 379 - Records of the Woman's Union Missionary Society.

The Missionary Link, the WUMS monthly publication, contains extracts of letters and articles from the missionaries. Copies of these magazines are in The Evangelism and Missions Collection on the third floor of the Billy Graham Center.

The May 1886 issue contains a letter from Miss Grace Ward of Cawpore, India, in which she describes the circumstances surrounding the death of one of her pupils who only was taught only one verse, John 3:16.
I have been sad lately over the death of one of my Zenana pupils, whom I had not long been teaching. She was a young widow of the highest caste, and for support she used to help some of the priests in performing ceremonies for the women. She was much interested in our religion, and although she had not learned to read well, she knew a hymn and loved the Bible verses. The last time I saw her I taught her the verse, "God so loved the world," and told her to be sure and remember it, that she might be able to say it perfectly when I came again. I was sick for a few weeks, and then found my much-loved pupil had died of cholera. Her mother and sister told me how she often inaquired for me and that she was constantly going over her one verse. In the morning of the day she died she said, "Surely my Meme will come today," and she repeated over and over again the words, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I cannot but think that she died believing on Jesus, and I hope to meet her in heaven. I know God will not require as much of these poor untaught women as He will of us. I am often made to feel anew the responsibility of our work and how we need to be "instant in season and out of season."


Dr. Elizabeth Reifsynder describes the work being done at the new Margaret Williamson Hospital in Shanghai, China, in the January 1886 Missionary Link.
We find our new hospital a great convenience with regard to our daily dispensary practice, and all our arrangements are now so complete that much time and strength is saved. I have a native teacher who registers all names and receives the Chinese. Miss McKechnie puts up my prescriptions, and I have just now a woman to help me bind up the bruised patients. Many time I should prefer to do it all, but I restrain myself that I may train others to be helpers. We have a most excellent matron, Mrs. Knae, quick to learn, ready and willing to act, and, above all, a devoted Christian woman.
For more information on Dr. Reifsnyder click here


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Last Revised: 6/01/07
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Wheaton College 2007